The data for 2019-20 shows that own provision has increased from 58% last year to 61.5% this year (out of all 364 children in placements). Private provision has decreased from 27% last year to 26.4% this year (out of all 364 children in placements). Although this is a slight shift, it is important that where possible we continue to place in our own provision.
Placements are largely distributed between the ‘main’ areas of fostering, residential and family/friends carers accounting for almost 90% of all placements as summarised below.
On the 31st March 2020: 49 (13.5%) children were placed in Children’s Homes (including secure units).
This is an increase of 9 children and a percentage increase of 2.4% since 2018, which indicates that we are now using children’s homes more than family based placements. Whilst this is often due to the complexity of the children we care for, it is a challenge for sufficiency moving forward. Warrington has a limited number of residential places and can cater for up to 8 children. In line with the agreed redesign of residential services, Ross Close became a 3 bed long term home in February 2020. Yates Close will convert to a 2 bed supported accommodation provision in August 2020. In a response to Covid-19 we have also opened St Kath's as our new short break provision and we are in the process of registering the provision with Ofsted. We plan to address this area further through the innovative work detailed later in this report.
269 children (73.9%) were in foster care (including family and friends placements).
This is a decrease of 14 children but a percentage increase of 2.9% since 2018. The number of children in foster care increased between 2019 and 2020, but is not back to the level it was in 2018. The percentage increase in 2020 is due to the reduction in the overall number of children in care. Therefore, despite the number of children in care decreasing, our sufficiency regarding family based care has in fact decreased, which in turn has led to our use of residential placements remaining static.
74 children (28% of all foster placements not children in care which is 20%) were placed with friends and family.
This is a decrease of 4 children but a similar percentage to 2018 (27%). Again this aligns with the above, but this figure may also be impacted by the number of children exiting care due to Special Guardianship Orders.
- Of the children in foster care (excluding family and friends placements), 139 (71%) are with in-house carers and (53) 27% with agency carers. The remaining 2% include two children in voluntary agencies and one in other local authority provision.